For the record, there's something pretty uplifting about recapping the best parts of your year, editing out all of the stress and exhaustion, and then making it appear really organized and focused - go figure! In all seriousness, 2016 was an ambitious one for me. It was also incredibly scattered and uneven in terms of how everything played out, but I did get a lot done.
This was a year of some massive new projects, a year when Editing Luke reached more people than ever before, and a year, when frankly, I've never worked harder to open new doors and make things happen. Here are some of those things that made my 2016 memorable:
January 2016 - At the very start of the year shooting was already underway for what would become the massive schoolwide documentary that I was filming at Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre in Medicine Hat, Alberta. We still weren't exactly sure what we were embarking on, but I put together this post to announce the project.
January 18, 2016 - I flew out to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan and shared the experience with my Dad. We had a blast exploring the city and my Motor City photo series that followed got a lot of traction over the course of the year. I also put together this brief video to highlight the auto show and new series.
January 27, 2016 - After being asked to photograph the structure for archival record, I finally debuted the images I captured of my old high school after renovations began. The nostalgia of seeing Medicine Hat High School as it was one last time proved popular as the series attracted tens of thousands of hits. See Part 1 here.
February 12, 2016 - I was up in Calgary, Alberta working on an ongoing video production in collaboration with Streamline, MHC, and Medalta. Not only was the production a lot of fun to work on, but the shoot was also a great opportunity to explore and photograph more of Calgary for my Alberta travel library. Explore more of that here.
March 15, 2016 - I debuted a brand new video with the Travelling Exhibition Program highlighting artwork in rural Alberta.
March 16, 2016 - Indulging one of my former film student whims, I bought myself a really expensive piece of memorabilia that I've wanted since high school. See it here.
April 2016 - I spent a week road tripping and shooting travel photography all over Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The trip was a great excuse to get away for my birthday and expand my Pacific Northwest travel series at the same time.
April 25, 2016 - Following up on an earlier series of images, I returned to my old high school again to photograph the aftermath of some of the demolition / renovation in full swing.
May 13, 2016 - After months in production, Innovation @ Medalta debuted.
June 2016 - I flew down to Atlanta, rented a car, and spent two weeks road tripping through the American South and Midwest on another photo journaling adventure. I shot a ton of material for my brand new Middle America photo series. Needless to say, I met a lot of characters along the way and became one myself.
June 29, 2016 - On the last day of school before summer, I shared a few updates about how the schoolwide documentary I'd been filming was unfolding.
July 1, 2016 - I shot a little video of the Canada Day fireworks that went over pretty well.
July 13, 2016 - I photographed my friends Enslow performing at the Monarch.
July 29, 2016 - I decided to challenge myself by shooting and editing a little visual exploration of the midway at the Medicine Hat Stampede.
September 1, 2016 - I kicked off a new video project with the Canalta Centre (soon to debut). On a side note, I shot some awesome concert photography at the Canalta Centre over the course of 2016 as well. More of that can be found here.
September 5, 2016 - After receiving yet another random message asking for free images, I put together this post about why supporting creative content matters. Clearly a lot of other people agreed, because the post took off.
October 5, 2016 - After months of organizing and rebuilding my travel library of Southern Alberta, I finally began debuting it to potential clients. At 1700+ pics (and growing) it's the largest preview gallery of final images that I have assembled to date.
October 14, 2016 - I won the 2016 Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
November 2016 - For Christmas I began debuting all of the Disneyland and California Adventure travel photography that I had shot in December 2015. These made for some really popular additions to my Roadside California series that I expanded substantially this year.
December 2016 - My year culminated with the official end of production on the schoolwide documentary that I'd been collaborating on since mid-2015. I provided more clarification about the project in a new post here. With this one project being such a major part of my year, it's been amazing to look back and realize how much else was going on. It should also be no surprise that with post-production just kicking off, this documentary project will certainly be a big part of my 2017 as well.
So, that was my 2016 in a nutshell. I've glossed over a lot of the "work" that actually took place because that would mostly be shots of me editing at 2am or scheduling shoots or returning emails. But really, I can't complain. For all the ups and downs this was a pretty good year.
Thank you to all those that I've had the pleasure of collaborating with in 2016 and to all of you who have continued to visit this website and explore my work. The support that so many of you have shown me has not gone unnoticed. Thank you for sharing your time with me in 2016 and for making this even more fun than it already is. Happy New Year!
For over a year now I've been shooting a schoolwide documentary project with the students, teachers, and staff of Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Whether you've been following any of my 'documentary updates' on social media over the last year, whether you're being reintroduced to the project, or whether this is the very first time you're hearing about it at all - welcome. This is a great time for an update!
This week marks the end of principal photography at the school, which means that after months and months of on-location filming, this massive documentary project is finally going to start being assembled. In this post I'll do my best to explain some of what this project is, what we've accomplished so far, and where we hope to go from here.
So, what IS this documentary about?
On the surface it's a documentary about a modern school, their culture, and their approach to project based learning. More specifically, it's about students. It's about their work, how they collaborate, what they like and dislike, and how they value their education - much of it expressed through their own words. From a purely observational standpoint, it's an exploration of what learning looks like.
Why was it filmed for over a year?
What makes this project so exciting is the scope under which it was shot. To document project based learning over an entire year allowed details to be revealed that otherwise would've been missed. It gave me the chance to see numerous projects, classrooms, students, etc. that are going to give this project a depth that would not have been possible otherwise.
From an archival perspective this is also a pretty unique project in that it's a detailed record of a modern Canadian school in 2016. That should make this even more interesting as it ages.
What is this going to look like?
Either a series of short episodes or a longer documentary are all on the tablea the moment. The outlines are still very rough at this point, but I think episodes will allow me to utilize more of the material.
You can expect to see students working on a variety of projects, candid moments around the school, interviews with students and teachers, community classrooms, collaboration in action, classroom activities, etc. etc.
Was this project your idea?
Actually, no - not in the beginning anyway. The school reached out to me. I was contacted in the summer of 2015 and asked about collaborating on a schoolwide project utilizing video and photography. The definition of the project evolved several times early on, but as things really kicked off in January 2016 it became clear that I was shooting a documentary.
The school (WLC) was actively involved in facilitating shooting and keeping me in the loop, however this was about embracing the documentary approach. The school did not mandate what the message was, what I had to film, or what it should look like. I made those calls as the project unfolded based on what I observed. I went in with an open mind and over the course of 2016 simply filmed teachers and students in action. It's been a big experiment in many ways, but also a great opportunity to document learning in a way that most people don't get to see.
How has this project been funded?
None of this would have been possible without the donation from a private benefactor who made the contribution to Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Centre for something like this to be created. This happened before I was brought on board.
Production thus far has been funded from this donation, however there are still hurdles to overcome. As with any big project, especially on a tight budget, there are a lot of variables and challenges. Funding to fully complete the post-production side of this documentary is still not a sure thing. We're optimistic, on schedule, and moving ahead as planned, but there is portion of this story that is currently to be continued. We're working on it.
When will we get to see it?
Sometime in 2017? Editing will start in January. Depending on how that goes we hope to eventually have a public screening, most likely release it online, and then like I've done with past projects, hopefully submit and promote it through a film festival or two. Frankly, there's still quite a few steps before we get to that point though.
So, that's where we're at right now.
I have a ton of work ahead of me but I'm so excited for what's to come. This has honestly been one of the most incredible projects that I've ever had the opportunity to be a part of, and certainly one of the most ambitious that I've tackled since film school. I hope you all continue to show your support as this unfolds. More updates are sure to follow in the weeks ahead!
Every year the familiar sights, sounds, and smells of the Medicine Hat Stampede are welcome highlights of summertime in "the Gas City". This year, in addition to shooting a few pictures of the midway like I always do, I decided that I'd also shoot and edit a new video.
There are a lot of things I love about exploring the midway. For one, it reminds me of being a kid. You're also likely to run into half of the people you know in town, and many that you haven't seen in years. The midway is colourful, noisy, a great place to people watch, and with the right stylistic editing and music, I think it's especially dynamic. That's how I see it anyway. Here's my visual take on the 2016 Medicine Hat Stampede Midway. Explore more of my work here.